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ReserveVoice: June 15, 2016

Legislative Update

Federal News Radio Interviews ROA President Sweeney on blended retirement

 The blended retirement system for those exiting a military career goes into effect in 2018; it substitutes future annuity levels with matching funds in the Thrift Savings Plan. Even before the plan goes into effect, the Pentagon is monkeying with it, and that's got the ire of retired officers.  Retired Marine Corps Col. James Sweeney, president of the Reserve Officers Association, joins Federal Drive with Tom Temin to offer his insight.

2017 NDAA

  The Senate continues into a 2nd week of working on their version of the NDAA S. 2943.  More than 600 Senate amendments have been filed and in the first week only 5 were considered (3 Agreed to and 2 Rejected). 
Rejected S.Amdt. 4549: Sen Reed; To authorize parity for defense and nondefense spending pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.
Rejected S.Amdt. 4229: Sen McCain; To address unfunded priorities of the Armed Forces.
Agreed to S.Amdt. 4204: Sen Inhofe; To strike the provision relating to the pilot program on privatization of the Defense Commissary System.
Agreed to S.Amdt. 4369: Sen Durbin; To provide that certain provisions in this Act relating to limitations, transparency, and oversight regarding medical research conducted by the Department of Defense shall have no force or effect.
Agreed to S.Amdt. 4206: Sen Fischer; To modify the requirement that the Secretary of Defense implement measures to maintain the critical wartime medical readiness skills and core competencies of health care providers within the Armed Forces.

Changes to Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) – Cost Estimate for S. 2943, FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act

DoD provides a monthly allowance to members of the military in the United States who are not provided use of government-owned housing. The basic allowance for housing compensates those members for the cost of obtaining private housing. BAH rates are calculated each year based on the cost of housing at each duty station, and are higher for members in higher pay grades and for those with dependents.
Senate Section 604 would modify that benefit in three ways: 
  1. members would be reimbursed for their actual cost of housing up to a maximum BAH rate;
  2. members who share housing with other service members, including service members who are married to other service members, would receive a monthly BAH payment divided by the number of members who live together; and
  3. the maximum BAH rate would vary by pay grade and geographic location, without regard to whether or not a member has dependents.
Those changes would be effective after January 1, 2018, and would only apply after a service member moves to a new permanent-duty location (CBO estimates that about one-third of service members move each year). On net, CBO estimates that implementing section 604 would reduce spending for this program by $2.0 billion over 2018-2021.
On the basis of information from DoD, CBO expects that DoD would implement those changes in a way that provides the most favorable outcome for service members. Following that reasoning, CBO assumes that DoD would no longer provide two BAH rates—one for those with dependents and one for those without dependents—and thus would pay one BAH at the higher of the two rates.
Therefore, the first two changes would lower BAH payments and the third change would increase BAH payments, compared to such payments under current law. The three changes to BAH would affect service members differently depending on whether they are married to a service member, married to a civilian, or are single. Some of the more notable changes for those populations are summarized below:
Military Members Change Budget Impact (2018-2021)
Dual-military Couples Under current law about 38,000 dual-military couples receive two BAH payments. Those with dependents receive one BAH at the with-dependent rate and one BAH at the lower, without-dependent rate. Couples without dependents earn two BAH payments at the without-dependent rate. Decrease costs by $1.0 billion
  • 28,000 couples who share a home would see a reduction.
  • 10,000 couples who maintain two households, because their duty stations are far apart, would see an increase in BAH payments.
Married to Civilians CBO estimates that about 540,000 service members are married to civilians and would see an average decrease in monthly BAH payments under the new system. Decrease costs by $1.6 billion
  • Those service members would probably only be affected by the change to reimburse for actual housing costs up to a maximum BAH.
Single The effect of the new BAH policies on single service members would depend on whether those members have dependents and whether they choose to live with other military members. Increase costs by about $400 million
  • Although some single members would see reductions in BAH because the BAH could not exceed the actual cost of housing, most single members would see their BAH increase because CBO expects that the new rate would be higher than the current without-dependent rate that applies to most single members.

New Guard and Reserve Private Health Care Insurance Pilot - Cost Estimate for S. 2943, FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act

Senate Section 707 would authorize DoD to carry out a pilot program to purchase commercial health insurance for members of the Selected Reserve and their dependents. Currently, members of the part-time Selected Reserve and their families can participate in TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) if they pay a premium equal to 28 percent of the government’s cost of providing the benefit. Those electing to participate in the pilot program would forgo the regular TRS benefit and would instead choose from a variety of commercial insurance plans in a manner similar to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB).
Those electing to participate in the pilot would pay 28 percent of the commercial insurance premium.  Currently, about 135,000 households participate in TRS. CBO estimates that about 10 percent of those households would choose to opt out of TRICARE and enroll in one of the new commercial plans. In addition, CBO estimates about 12,000 reserve households that do not currently use TRICARE would opt to use the new commercial plans, because the new plans would probably have more robust provider networks and offer more options than TRICARE.
CBO estimates that the cost to the government of providing commercial health insurance to members of the selected reserve would average about 30 percent more than providing the same level of care through TRS. Thus, providing that insurance would increase costs to DoD by about $1,600 per household for those who switch from TRS to the new benefit and about $7,000 per household for those who are not currently participating in TRS, but would participate in the pilot program.

Army Update

Army Chief of Staff issues memo on support for military associations

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley issued guidance June 1 to Army leaders on interaction with and support of groups such as ROA.  General Milley’s letter joins similar guidance issued by the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and from Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Frank Grass.
ROA, acting together with AUSA and NGAUS sent the Chief of Staff a “tri-signed” letter in February; the guidance he just issued was one of the chief requests we made in that letter, to help commanders sort through confusion on the issue and often restrictive guidance given by JAGs.  We thank General Milley for being responsive and recognizing the value associations offer our Army!
Establishing good relations with local commanders will likely be aided by the Chief of Staff’s memo and its formal recognition that commanders (and their JAGs) may provide access and support within the framework of his guidance and that, “These associations [he cites ROA] routinely provide a variety of forums that foster military professionalism and development. In addition, these groups work to increase the American public’s awareness of our mission and nurture strong and mutually-beneficial relationships among government, industry, and civic leaders.”
Of course, Army leaders – leaders of any military service – are not compelled by this or other guidance to provide support to ROA; we are in the position of providing information of value to commanders, troops and families.

Lieutenant General Thomas J. Plewes Writing Award

Lt. Col. Robert T. Krumm, USAR, whose writing piece was titled, "Innovation: An Austrian Model for the American Military,” received the Plewes Award at the Army War College graduation on 10 June 2016.

Air Force Update

The Air Force Reserve: A heritage of innovation

Recently, the Air Force Reserve commander, Lt. Gen. Jackson, launched a major command-wide innovation campaign to capture and implement best practices that improve mission execution and process efficiency. Indeed, saving time and money is integral to our Reserve culture and a cornerstone of the Air Force Reserve mission of “Providing Combat-Ready Forces.” Of course, the entire U.S. military has an impressive history of innovation. One story of a famous Reservist stands out as a poignant example of how innovation has a direct and positive impact on military operations.
Major Jimmy Doolittle served as a Reservist. In his civilian job, he was the manager of Shell Oil Company’s Aviation Department. Doolittle convinced Shell to produce 100 octane aviation gasoline. With his previous job experience he ultimately helped the United States store high octane fuel during World War II to help defeat the Japanese after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

AF IMA leads global peacekeeper training

Mongolian Armed Forces Brig. Gen. D.Ganzorig, left, U.S. Air Force Col. Carl Magnusson, center, exercise co-director for Khaan Quest 16 and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Robert Shuford, answer questions about the exercise at a media engagement at the Ministry of Defense, in Ulaanbatar, Mongolia, May 20, 2016. Khaan Quest is an annual, multinational peacekeeping operations exercise conducted in Mongolia and is the capstone exercise for this year's United Nations Global Peace Operations Initiative program. Read the article on AFRC News (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Hilda M. Becerra / Released)

Navy Update

Chief of Navy Reserve Selection

Navy Rear Adm. Luke M. McCollum was selected for appointment to the rank of vice admiral, and for assignment as chief of Navy Reserve, Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia.  McCollum is currently serving as reserve deputy commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, San Diego, California.

C-40A 15th Anniversary Celebration

ROA was a proud support of the C-40A 15th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, April 29, 2016 at NAS Fort Worth JRB, Texas.  The event marked 15 years of Clipper operations at the squadron which was the first Navy squadron to accept delivery of the C-40A in April 2001.

Photographed from left to right are CDR Rob Stanley (commanding officer, VR-59), CAPT Scott Eargle (commodore, Fleet Logistics Support Wing), JD Detwiler (Boeing government and military programs sales director), Cameron Blake (Boeing C-40A Sales and Marketing Representative), and Rear Adm. Michael Crane (commander, Naval Air Force Reserve).  Photo by Lt. Wes Holzapfel (CNAFR PAO).

Active duty spring 2016 petty officer quotas dip: FTS, Reserve up

As many as 19,836 sailors Navy-wide who will get the word they’ve earned new petty officer crows by the end of May. Winners this year are the reserve full-time support sailors who have one in three chances to advance across pay grades E-4 through E-6. That’s followed closely by the selected reserve with a 27.84 shot to move up. Active-duty chances came in at just under 19 percent. In February, 11,444 drilling reservists sat for their exams with 9,487 or 82.90 percent managing a passing score and becoming eligible to compete for 2,642 advancement quotas which made for a 27.85 percent shot at advancing.

It’s the second straight cycle of improvement for the SELRES who saw force cuts severely limit advancement for a few cycles as the reserve component slimmed to their current post-war end strength. As the Navy Reserve continues to go stronger through test scores there is hope in the future that sailors will continue the trend of rising test scores.

Coast Guard Update

Coast Guard seizes over $214 million in cocaine

The Coast Guard plays a major role in performing rescue mission, and protecting the coasts from drug trafficking. On June 13, 2016 the Coast Guard has offloaded over eight tons of cocaine in Miami Beach with an estimated value of more than $214 million. The drugs were collected in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central and South America over the last two months, according to the Coast Guard. Coast Guard officials say that the haul represents the interdiction of 11 suspected smuggling vessels and one bale recovery operation.  The USGC is on track, according to its commandant, to seize 400 metric tons of cocaine this year in the Western Hemisphere “transit zone,” up from 191 tons last year; and between last year and this year will have removed over a thousand smugglers from operations.
During a talk in Washington June 13 at CSIS, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul F. Zukunft emphasized the increasing importance of maritime security, telling listeners that USCG modernization and “recapitalization” of its fleet are picking up pace and on track, whereas operations funding is still low, leaving the Coast Guard unable to perform multiple large missions (events such as an environmental disaster) simultaneously If we have two or more events, the admiral said, we’re “out of Schlitz.”

Jay Clarence Oakman Obituary

Jay Clarence Oakman, 70, a retired commander in the United States Coast Guard, passed away unexpectedly at his home in San Francisco, CA, on Sunday, April 10, 2016.
Commander Oakman was a Life member of ROA since April 1977; he served as Navy Section of ROA's Naval Service Jr. Vice President from June 1980 to July 1981.  
Commander Oakman was born on December 26, 1945, in Portland, OR, and was preceded in death by his loving parents James Clarence Oakman and Kathryn Eddings Oakman. He was a Boy Scout during his early years. After graduating from Seaside High School in 1964, he attended Oregon State University and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1968. He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1968 and held assignments in Alameda, CA, and Hawaii.
Commander Oakman achieved much during his time in the Coast Guard: commissioned as an ensign in 1970 at the Officers Candidate School in Yorktown, VA; completed the US Navy Flight Training School in Pensacola, FL, in 1971, and served on the Coast Guard Cutter Sherman in Boston, MA, in 1972. He also served as Reserve Program Administrator at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC; received a master of science degree in management at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA, in 1979; held the position of Public Affairs Officer in the San Francisco Coast Guard District Office; attended the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA, in 1986; held assignments at the Maintenance and Logistics Command on Governor’s Island in NY, and served at Coast Guard Headquarters prior to an assignment at the Pentagon where he served as Coast Guard Liaison.
In 1981 Commander Oakman was listed in the publication, "Outstanding Young Men of America." He retired from the U.S. Coast Guard on Governor’s Island, NY after 26 years of service in 1993. He served in many capacities for the Goldmine Hill Board of Directors, including president. He was also president of his own consulting company. Commander Oakman made friends of all ages and was well known for his kindness, generosity and keen sense of intellect. He was also a lifelong fan of baseball, football and basketball and was a loyal fan of the San Francisco Giants, Golden State Warriors, San Francisco 49ers and the Oregon Ducks.
Commander Oakman is survived by his wife Cathy; one son, Brett Lorentzen (Starla) of Lake Tapps, WA; two grandsons, Britton and Brandon Lorentzen; two sisters, Susan Oakman Bristow of Salem, OR, and Mickey Livermore (Terry) of Spokane, WA; cousins, nieces, nephews, and many other family and friends.
Commander Oakman's ashes were scattered in the San Francisco Bay. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that you consider making donations to: Doctors without Borders and United Negro College Fund, or Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, CA, or a charity of your choice.

Military Families

Research Study:  Improving the Emotional Well-being of U.S. Service Members

The purpose of the doctoral research study is to understand the ways in which service members interact with family, friends, faith groups, neighborhood, employment, and/or school when returning home from deployment or transitioning out of the military, and how they think these interactions have impacted their sense of self and emotional health.  In this study, you will be asked to answer a series of questions online about various roles that you hold in your day-to-day life, how you feel about them and your experiences in civilian life.  Your responses to the survey are completely anonymous and no identifying information will be collected as a part of your participation.  Participation in this study will take approximately 20 minutes.

Mary Fortson-Harwell, Ph.D. student in International Conflict Management at Kennesaw State University (KSU) and currently practices as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Emory University Hospital and with the Georgia Army National Guard.


Each year, more than 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the U.S. These students are eight times more likely to end up in prison, and three times more likely to end up unemployed.
       Additionally, there is a wide disparity in student achievement between affluent students and at-risk students, as well as white students and students of color.
       Many school districts, particularly in urban areas, are significantly underfunded and overwhelmed. With class sizes of 25 to 30, teachers understandably have trouble addressing the needs of the most struggling students.
        That’s where SAGA comes in. For more information please view attached SAGA Flyeror visit us online.

CIOR LANGUAGE ACADEMY: Ready on the Right, Ready on the Left, Ready on the Firing Line!

For the past three months an article has appeared in this space to announce recruitment for the upcoming CIOR Language Academy to be conducted in Muraste, Estonia in July.  From ROA members we were looking for French language students and English as a Foreign language teachers.  Calls came in for both these roles, plus those expressing a general interest in CIOR. 
The enrollment deadlines are imminent. Recruitment for this 16th iteration of the CIOR Language Academy is the most successful in years. We expect to have over 70 students and 14 faculty and staff members. The US will contribute eight French students and six faculty and staff. Other important national groups of students include Albania, Estonia, Georgia, Poland, and Ukraine.
Watch this space next year for announcements regarding CLA 2017.  For further information contact CAPT David Epstein, USN(Ret), Director at (650)787-0500 (PDT) or


U.S.S. Wilhoite (DE/DER-397)
September 12-15, 2016
Crowne Plaza at the Airport
2829 Williams Boulevard, New Orleans, LA
Contact: Elisabeth Kimball
236 Linker Mountain Road, Dover, AR 72837
U.S. Navy Ship USS Perkins (DD26, DD377, DDR877) 26th Annual Reunion
September 14 - 17, 2016, San Pedro CA
Contact: George H. Melgarejo
1280 West 2nd Street, San Pedro, CA 90732
Phone: 310-831-5417
The biannual reunion of the USS Turner Joy, DD-951, will take place 21-25 September 2016 at the Holiday Inn Virginia Beach-Norfolk Hotel & Convention Center.  The hotel is located at 5655 Greenwich Road, Virginia Beach, Va. 23462
Details and registration information can be obtained at the USS Turner Joy website:

Richard D. Haight, USS Turner Joy DD-951
Reunion Coordinator
12359 Cold Stream Guard Ct.
Bristow, Va. 20136
USS Bon Homme Richard (CV/CVA-31) Ship Company and Air Group & USS Bon Homme Richard (LHD-6)
August 31-September 4, 2016, Nashville , TN
Contact: Ray King
3030 Old Orchard Rd., Eau Claire, WI 54703
Phone: 715-456-5933
U.S.S. John R. Craig (DD-885)
September 20-25, 2016
Holiday Inn, Nashville Airport
Nashville, Tenn.
Contact: Jerry Chwalek
9307 Louisiana Street, Livonia, MI 48185
USS Elokomin AO-55
Sep 22-25, 2017
Lisle (Chicago), IL

Contact: Ron Finet
Phone: 262-742-4269
U.S.S. Walke (DD-723) Association
September 25-30, 2016
Asheville, NC
Reunion Contact: Gene Hansen
PO Box 1695, Cahiers, NC 28717-1695
Phone: 828-883-7231

Reunion Date:
UPT Class 67C

October 28-30, 2016
Mesa, AZ   
Contact Jerry Engles for further information:
USS Voge (DE/FF-1047) Reunion
When:  5-9 October 2016
Where: Warwick RI
Reservation deadline:  24 August 2016
Contact: Tom Anderson/501-259-1369 or
 Jan Harris/
Reservations: call MRP at 817-251-3551
or go
For additional Info please go to Voge Facebook Page or email

Law Reviews:

Legal analysis on the issues impacting your life in and out of uniform

Former Service Member’s Law Center director, retired USNR Capt. Sam Wright, provides periodic law review updates.  Please see ROA’s Law Center webpage for more information on service members’ law.
  • No. 16043 You Must Keep Track of your own Five Year Limit
  • No. 16044 The Definitive Reference Book on USERRA
  • No. 16045 Service Members Must Be Given the Opportunity To Vote
  • No. 16046 Good News on VA Compensation and Health Care for Vietnam War Navy Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange
  • No. 16047 Maryland Law Adds Two Critical Protections For Veterans
  • No. 16048 Where and How Does the Service Member Vote?
  • No. 16049 The Right to 15 Days of Paid Military Leave Applies to Federal Employees, Not Employees of Federal Contractors
  • No. 16050 DOJ Wins USERRA Case
Visit the Service Members Law Center
Reserve Voice is published on the 15th and 30th of each month by the Reserve Officers Association of the United States, the nation’s leading advocate for Reserve Component policy and resourcing, and support of RC service members and their families.

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